Animation Elite 2012: The 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' Ensemble

The fourth “Ice Age” outing was red hot when it came to grosses: Fox’s 3D family blockbuster hauled in $870 million worldwide, making it the third-highest grossing film of the year and sixth-highest grossing animated film in history.

“Its message is so timely: That despite our differences, we all have to work together,” says John Leguizamo, the voice of Sid the three-toed sloth and part of a large multi-culti cast that includes franchise regulars Ray Romano, Denis Leary and Queen Latifah, along with new addition Wanda Sykes (as Sid’s obnoxious Granny).

Ironically, given that message, the vocal talent (including Jennifer Lopez, Drake and Nicki Minaj) all record separately, Leguizamo says. “I go first, then Ray, who adds all these little jabs. Then I get a chance to go back and add my jabs and jokes, so it’s all one-upmanship, which keeps it fun.”

According to Leguizamo, Sykes “brought a really powerful comic voice, with a lot of presence, character and humor, which animated movies really need. It’s not just about the line. And she also shows just how dysfunctional his upbringing was.” Lopez brings “the sexiness,” Leary “that great smoky, Boston voice with that cynical edge,” and Latifah “a grounded, matriarchal quality that pulls it all together.”

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more